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The Department of Agriculture- Rice Program allocated P755 Million implementing budget for this year intended for MIMAROPA, including Palawan.
DA-Rice Program Regional Focal Person, Ma. Theresa Aguilar informed the provincial, city and municipal agriculture officers in a gathering that aimed address pressing issues affecting rice production in the region. The budget is allotted to improve competitiveness and farm income, enhance resilience to disasters and climate risks, and ensuring access to safe and nutritious rice.
The RA 11203 or Rice Tarrification and Import Liberalization Law will boost the rice farmers with the 35% tariff collected for the imported rice. The funds will be utilized to support rice farming mechanization and other important interventions.
The new law will give time for the country’s rice industry to become competitive said Municipal Agriculturist Edgar Padul of Roxas, Palawan, who is also the president of all Municipal Agriculture’s Officer (MAOs) in the province.
“Itong Rice Tarrification Law ay mabibigyan ng pagkakataon ang ating rice farmers na maka-level up tulad ng ating mga neighboring Asian countries. Kasi ngayon we lag behind Thailand and Vietnam. After six years ay hopefully makaka-compete na tayo. At yang six years na yan ay bibigyan ng support ang mga rice farmers, hindi lang sa quality seeds, financing, pati sa mechanization. Kaya tayo lugi kasi ang ibang bansa ay mechanized na, samantalang tayo hindi pa masyado,” he said.
The drivers towards achieving a highly competitive rice industry are government support through provision of high quality rice seeds, improvement of irrigation, establishment of model farmers, training, financial research and development, etc. To reduce the rice farmers’ expenses on the production cost, the DA will provide facilities for farm production, post-harvest, and for machineries and equipment. Tolerant rice seed varieties will be dispersed to make rice farmers adaptive and resilient to climate change risks.
Randy Pernia of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of MIMAROPA region cautioned the MAOs on the extended El Nino Phenomenon that greatly affects the rice farmers. This is expected to last until June therefore, their office already coordinated to different agencies to assist the affected farmers. He have warned on the pests that infest the farms due to the weather.
“Pinapabantayan sa atin (municipal agriculture office) itong mga pests na lumalabas during El Niño o dry spell. May mga klase ng pests na karaniwang lumalabas tuwing tag-init,” Padul said.